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People have a widely varied response to the words, working out, one that ranges from “Yes, I work out regularly!” to an involuntary shudder. Exercise, though, does not have to come in the typical package we might think of when we hear “working out”.
Various Forms of Working Out
Exercise can be a form of play, like an impromptu game of tag, or, for some, a form of personal mediation, like tai-chai, rock-climbing or a simple sun salutation performed each morning.
Whatever we think of when we hear the words “exercise” or “working out”, healthy movement doesn’t have to be hard, tedious or intimidating. It doesn’t have to involve boot camp-like drills, or bathroom scales. Some people love the challenge of working their bodies to the limit; others would rather move gently and easily, working at their own pace.
Whatever your preference, exercise should occupy a healthy space in your life, not one to obsess over or fixate on, but one that comes naturally to you as an individual and simply makes you feel better.
Find Your Happiness In Working Out
The great thing about moving your body in a healthy way is that it doesn’t have to resemble what we traditionally think of exercise at all. You love to go to the gym? Great! The idea of the gym is torture? How about a stroll around your local park, greeting neighbors and enjoying the fresh air? A hike out in nature, taking in the sights and smells of the wilderness while moving your body through it? Swimming? Doesn’t have to be laps; gather some friends and play in a community pool, like you did when you were kids.
Put on beautiful music and stretch, or practice those dance steps you learned in lessons years ago. One of my favorite things to do is turn up the radio when I hear a song I love, grab my kids and sing and dance until we fall on the floor, breathless with laughter. It doesn’t feel like work, but it is absolutely exercise for all three of us (especially me – if you’ve ever bounced and spun while holding toddler on each hip, you understand!)
People are looking for ways to get fit and stay in shape by engaging in exciting activities. Women most likely opt for studio classes such as Yoga, Zumba and Tae Bo. There are also plenty of other innovative aerobic workouts that combine elements of dance and traditional Oriental practices that you can try out and that don’t feel like exercise at all. A program like the Manhattan Beach Pilates at Spectrum Athletic Clubs and other workout sessions at similar facilities offer a fresh take on contemporary exercises.
Or you could go outside and climb a tree. Sweat to the oldies with an old pal. Have a sit-ups contest with your spouse, your kids or your friends – or if that sounds a little out of reach, challenge yourself to do one sit-up on Monday, two on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, until you’ve surprised yourself with what your body can do.
The Mental Benefit of Working Out
Not only is exercise good for the body, it is also good for the brain. Exercise releases endorphins, which lower one’s perception of pain, boosts moods and relives stress. It is linked to lower depression rates and improved sleep, and can improve focus during the work or school day.
And it’s not just yoga that can help quiet your mind this way – any gentle to moderate exercise will do. Forget about how you look, what people think, even how exercise is contributing to your body weight or shape. Let it instead contribute to refreshing your mind and raising your spirits.